Since our last update, we successfully shipped out over 150 SPUD units to our earliest backers just before the break for Chinese New Year. Our suppliers in China have been back up and running for the last couple of weeks, and we are making some good progress on the lenses (the lens assembly is the final part bottlenecking production)!
As we have mentioned before, our shipping schedule depends on how fast our supplier can deliver the fully tested and passed SPUD lens assembly (which reduces SPUD’s projection distance sufficiently so SPUD can take up less space/fit on a desk). The assembly contains multiple lenses, with the front-most, largest, rectangular lens being the “difficult one” to produce. Our supplier has made some real progress on this front lens production: For our first build, the produced lenses had a ~65% pass rate, meaning we had to throw away 35% of the produced lenses as not meeting our specifications. Since the end of Chinese New Year, this supplier has improved the process and produced at least 700 of these front lenses at a pass rate of almost 100% !!
The molding machine for the smaller lens in the rear of the lens assembly has unfortunately been out-of-service for the last 2 weeks, and our supplier is working with the machine manufacturer to get it repaired. In the meantime, our supplier is continuing to produce more of the front-most lens and the lens holder/mount. Once the machine is fixed and more of the smaller lenses are made, we will create full lens assemblies required for SPUD production.
Regarding shipment dates, as of March 8th, we have about 120 completed lens assemblies (limited by our supplier making 120 smaller lenses before the lens mold machine broke) that can be used in production. However, there are some constraints we still need to consider:
In other words, while we love the idea of sending out smaller SPUD batches (and getting more feedback) on a faster cycle, the higher cost of lower volumes make it significantly more difficult. We are trying to determine when it will make the most sense to schedule our next production run and ship the next batch: if we wait until we have 500 units, the next shipment will be determined by how long it takes the lens manufacturer to produce more of the smaller lenses. Right now we don’t have a good estimate for when the mold machine will be back up and running, but once it is, creating the additional 380 lenses should take another 3 weeks to complete. We are also researching ways to to ship fewer than 500 packages so we can keep the option of shipping out sooner.
We have been hounding the first 150 users to give us feedback, both through short surveys and live Skype/phone interviews. We hope to eventually hear from all 2000 of you! Until then, here’s some of our favorite quotes:
We have also received some really good constructive feedback on things we could improve. For example, SPUD ships with a standard HDMI cable, but many devices you can use SPUD with will require a special adapter to connect. This adapter is NOT included with SPUD (there are just too many different connection types out there!). To help you prepare for your SPUD, we’ve put together a list of common adapter types you might need (link to support article). As you receive and start using your own SPUD, please feel free to send us any adapters you’ve used so we can update the list!
Finally, one of the biggest lessons we have learned from shipping out the first 150 units will affect all of you non-US backers. Every SPUD shipped out has to go through customs, and this can mean different things depending on the final destination country. Because every country is different, we will be emailing all you affected backers individually with the details of what we learned for your country, including estimates of any taxes or fees you will be expected to pay to receive your package. Thanks again to all the backers that helped us understand how the customs process worked from your perspective… a lot of you really went above and beyond with the info you shared with us! It has been a HUGE help!
Here's a few straight-from-the-factory SPUD unboxing pictures!
As always, we very much appreciate your patience and support! We will be sending out address confirmation emails soon so you can let us know if you have moved recently. Also, please let us know if you expect to be moving to a new address in the near future!
- Justin, George, Leonard, Alex